The West Bank of St. Charles Parish is subject to heavy rainfall events, tidal surges from the Gulf of Mexico and other hurricane-related flooding which result in damages to industrial, commercial, residential, agricultural and environmental facilities. This unprotected area has been declared a federal disaster area 14 times in the last 30 years due to named storm events.
St. Charles Parish, in cooperation with the Lafourche Basin Levee District, has undertaken plans to construct the West Bank Levee Initiative, a multi-phase project composed of a 33-mile flood protection system spanning from the Davis Diversion West Guide Levee in Luling to a natural high-elevation ridge at Highway 308 in Lafourche Parish. The West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee in St. Charles Parish connects a large gap in the hurricane protection system spanning from the Sunset Drainage District Levee to the Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion West Guide Levee.
The West Bank Levee Initiative’s long-term objective is to construct a flood protection system achieve 100-year level of protection by building a system to a +12.5-foot elevation. The interim goal is to provide protection to a +7-foot elevation to significantly reduce flood risk for a large portion of Southeast Louisiana that is currently vulnerable.
Earthen levees can be raised with future lifts to maintain and improve risk reduction levels without having to remove the already constructed levee.
The West Bank Levee Initiative
The West Bank Levee Initiative is divided into the following reaches:
- Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion West Guide Levee (Luling)
- Willowridge Reach (Luling)
- Ellington Reach (Luling and Boutte)
- Magnolia Ridge Reach (Boutte)
- Sunset Reach (Paradis, Bayou Gauche and Des Allemands)
- Bayou Des Allemands Flood Gate
- Highway 90 Levee (Lafourche Parish)
Upon completion, the project will offer flood protection to more than 25,000 residents on the West Bank of St. Charles in addition to numerous business and industrial sites along the river, including energy and petrochemical producers.
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) is evaluating two alternative alignments for additional Hurricane Protection in Southeast Louisiana.
The first alignment is the Highway 90 alignment that St. Charles Parish and the Lafourche Basin Levee District are pursuing and hope to have included in the State’s Coastal Master Plan.
The Highway 90 alignment follows the natural ridge along LA 308 to the proposed Highway 90 Levee in Lafourche Parish before tying into Sunset Drainage District Levee at the proposed Bayou Des Allemands Flood Gate.
This alignment would protect a large portion of Southeast Louisiana that is currently vulnerable as well as protect Highway 90, a critical evacuation route for southeast Louisiana.
The second alignment that CPRA is evaluating is the Northern Alignment. This alignment extends from the St. Charles Parish West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee at the Sunset Drainage District Levee and runs north along the BNSF Railroad and Old Spanish Trail in St. Charles Parish to LA 3127 and ties into high ground near the Mississippi River. This alignment leaves significantly more communities vulnerable to flooding caused by hurricane and tropical storm events.
By working with the Lafourche Basin Levee District, St. Charles Parish is pushing to have its preferred alignment that includes the Davis Pond West Guide Levee, the Magnolia Ridge, Ellington and Willowrdige Levees, and the Sunset Levee – along with the proposed Highway 90 Levee in Lafourche – incorporated into an overall alignment adopted by the CPRA as part of the state’s Coastal Master Plan.